The Parsons Peebles Monarchs left Ashfield pointless this evening going down 53-39 to the Glasgow Tigers in an entertaining night of racing.
A fairly slick track led to some fast and tight racing and although passing was at a premium this did not dull the on track action with close racing throughout.
The Monarchs were invariably undone by a lack of top end power as they recorded only 4 heat winners to the home men’s 11 and with certain members of the septet ineffectual a tough night was always likely.
Monarchs team manager on the night Alex Harkess was in reflective mood after the meeting saying “We never gave up and we started picking up some wins towards the end, it was very much a from the start type of meeting and intermittently we did start but not consistently enough to challenge.”
The visitors got off to the worst possible start as any hope they would be able to catch the Tigers napping with it having been a month since their last home meeting was quickly dispelled as Richard Lawson and Nike Lunna rocketed from the tapes leaving guest Ludvig Lindgren and Theo Pijper in their wake. The fact this was completed in the fastest time of the season at Ashfield showing how sharp Lawson was from tapes to flag.
Heat 2 was to come with a major delay as Jack Smith went down in the first and second bend, initial thoughts of serious injury thankfully appear unfounded as Smith has been diagnosed with a dislocated elbow. With a 40 minute wait expected for an ambulance to come to take Smith to be checked over the decision was made for the track ambulance to take Smith to the hospital and a 90 minute delay ensued.
The Tigers romped home their advantage in the following heats with a pair of 4-2 and a 5-1 advantage between heats 3 and 6 meaning a ten point advantage and with that the Monarchs were forced to roll the dice Erik Riss donning the black and white helmet going for double points in heat 9. Home star Richie Worrall was fastest from the gate though and Riss could not make an impact although with the Monarchs filling in the minor places they did at least record a 5-3 heat advantage to reduce the arrears to 8.
Any hopes that the Armadale men could sneak a point form the encounter were all but distinguished in the very next heat as once again Lawson and Lunna streaked from the tapes to record a maximum heat advantage.
The travelling fans did at least have something to cheer in heat 12 as the Monarchs top 2 performers Ricky Wells and Josh Pickering made the jump and despite Worrall’s best effort Pickering would not be budged the pair passing and re-passing with the young Aussie taking the second place much to the delight of himself and the Monarchs faithful.
This was part of a fruitful night for Pickering as he raced to paid 12 points and Harkess was delighted with his efforts stating “It’s time for Josh to progress and he is showing signs of doing that and that is pleasing, we need him to score points and you can see his whole outlook has taken a step up and that is good, very good.”
The Monarchs joy from heat 12 was to be short lived as the Tigers pair of Lawson and Aaron Summers reversed the 5-1 score in the very next heat confirming the win for the Tigers.
All that was left was to see if home number 1 Richard Lawson could complete his maximum in heat 15 but Monarchs top scorer Ricky Wells was to put paid to this making a sharp gate and heading the Tigers home.
So defeated but not disgraced would probably sum up the night for the Blue and Gold and with the wonder that if the Monarchs are to head west again this season what will we be capable off if we have Sam and Mark back in place of the combined 6 points scored by their respective replacements.
Another week another tough challenge for the Parsons Peebles Monarchs as the Ipswich Witches head north once again on the lookout for SGB Championship points.
Not that any extra motivation would be needed for such a power packed line-up as the Witches but the Suffolk men will be looking to overturn the defeat to the Monarchs at Foxhall a couple of weeks ago. This being the only time they have been turned over on their own patch this season will make them doubly keen to make amends.
The main driving force will of course be clinching the points required to confirm an end of season playoff spot and currently both teams look well placed for this although any more home slip ups for either could put this in danger.
The Witches have a balanced line-up with an experienced and strong spearhead in the form of former British champion Danny King. King is undoubtedly one of the top men in the league and is equally at home on both large and small tracks and sports a high score of paid 15 at Armadale to his name. He is always a tough opponent for our top men and no doubt this will no different this week.
Luckless Kyle Newman slots in at number 2. Newman has had an injury plagued season that has stunted what he would have hoped to have been the season he kicked on at Championship level into a true heat leader. There is still plenty of time for this though as Newman is still only 25 and the signs are there that one of these days everything is going to fall into place. Remarkably despite it being a track he says he enjoys and is always keen to appear at Newman has a pretty abject record at the Dale with a sub 5 average from 10 visits. If this changes tomorrow though the Monarchs may very well be in trouble.
Number 3 and in the form of his life is Cameron Heeps, anyone who has seen his exploits for Somerset on BT over the last couple of weeks cannot have helped but been impressed and of course Heeps is a noted Armadale performer having been voted visitor of the year a few years back. Now stepping up into a heat leader rule Heeps is making good on the promise he has shown and is a key cog in the Withes machine.
Unfortunately the first of what would normally be two title winning Monarchs in the Witches outfit Justin Sedgmen misses out due to a shoulder injury. Sedgy was at Armadale as recently as last week where he looked a patch of his former self, this can be put down to that injury though and Justin had been forced onto the sidelines. Rider replacement comes into operation with Heeps, Newman and the reserves eligible to take Justin's rides.
The second Monarchs legend in the line-up comes in at 5 in the form of Roo Boy Rory Schlein. Schlein has made the most of his drop down to the Championship this year and is one of the classiest performers in the division, he almost certainly still knows the fastest way around Armadale having made the final of the Scottish open and raced to double digits on multiple occasions already this season.
Normally when a team puts together such a strong top 5 this comes to the detriment to the reserve berths but the Witches certainly picked shrewdly this season and this has not been the case. Danyon Hume who started the season in one of these berths was always fancied to improve on his 2 point average and he was far exceeding this with a 5 point average before he was lost for the season with a badly broken arm. Nathan Greaves stepped into the fray and he is using his Premiership experience with Wolves to good use currently averaging over 5 himself. With this Wolves experience Greaves is component of the smaller tracks and raced to a paid 7 score the last time the Witches visited.
Another one who has made a mockery of his starting 2 point average is number 7 Connor Mountain. Mountain has added over a point to this average and has been one of the biggest success stories of the fast track system. Remarkably this almost was not enough for Mountain to keep his spot as the Witches pondered changes that turned out not to fit into the averages. This would have been a travesty for the young Brit but hopefully this will not affect his confidence and he will continue to improve, although to be honest hopefully that may not be tomorrow night.
As for the Monarchs there are 2 changes to the team that returned to winning ways last Friday against Peterborough. Firstly we are delighted to welcome Mark Riss back into the fold. Mark has been out for 2 months now since damaging tendons in his hand coincidentally against the same opposition back in June. Mark has been practicing back in Germany and feels ready to return and the Monarchs are happy to have him back although we thank Theo Pijper for his efforts in Marks place.
Second is in the number 1 slot where Sam is still missing due to his broken collarbone. Sam went through an operation last Friday that appears to have gone well. Sam is targeting a return soon and with the Monarchs without a home match at Championship level till the 8th of September due to the restaging of both the Caledonian Riders Championship and Intermediate Challenge against Buxton to come in the next couple of weeks the hope is Sam will not miss to many more Monarchs matches. Stepping in to Sam’s slot this week is Chris Harris. We have all seen how good Harris is around the Dale in the last 2 weeks with his performances for Sheffield and Peterborough and we will be hoping a repeat of these is to come tomorrow night.
The rest for the line-up is as is with plenty of encouraging signs to take from last weekend. Ricky is back to his start of season form and romped to victory in heat 15 at Glasgow last weekend. Josh is in the form of his life racing to paid 25 points over the two matches last weekend. He credits a lot of this to changing clutch setups and working on his start with Erik and this is certainly paying dividends. Erik continues to impress and with Max and Mitch fairly consistent at home this has all the makings of the cracker.
So we have a potent visitor full of Armadale experience and pedigree and a Monarchs line-up getting closer and closer to full strength another exciting match awaits. You all know there is only one place to see it and that’s trackside. See you there!
Saturday 19th August 2017, 9:00am
Following Friday night's unfortunate postponement of the Parsons Peebles Monarchs match against the Ipswich Witches at Armadale Stadium, the Club would like to apologise to those who were in attendance for the events that unfolded.
Friday 18th August 2017, 8:30pm
After much discussion and track work Friday night's important Championship match between the Parsons Peebles Monarchs and Ipswich was called off shortly after 8 o'clock.
Wednesday 16th August 2017, 11:00am
Two of the SGB Championship’s playoff contenders clash this Friday as the Parsons Peebles Monarchs host the Ipswich Witches
Monday 14th August 2017, 9:40pm
Mark Riss has declared himself fit and will return to the Parsons Peebles Monarchs team for our home match against Ipswich on Friday, subject to BSPA approval.